Shaping Cloud Sales Director Dom Eagland takes a look at how cloud is beginning to gain further traction within local government and calls out some of the key areas that should be considered when building a business case.

With Microsoft announcing its first UK data centres this week, commitment by suppliers to public cloud services is at an all-time high.

I believe this is a tipping point in moving traditionally on premise IT services to a cloud based delivery.

The question now is, what will that journey look like, and how is the case best made? I’ve spoken to numerous local authorities who understand that cloud is “a good thing” – but, by their own admission, they can’t make the case easily, and they’re not clear on where to start or, if they have started, where to go next.

Change shouldn’t be driven by technology for technology’s sake, it should support business transformation. However, understanding how cloud can enable this is not an easy endeavour. Cloud brings with it a whole new paradigm, with many factors to consider if the move to cloud is to be beneficial, secure, sustainable, and offer the right ROI.

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Everyone I speak with has already invested in on-premise solutions, and this is to be expected. But technology brings new opportunities, and when looking at exploiting those opportunities it becomes clear that dovetailing their current environment with a completely new IT delivery model will require careful assessment, planning, clarity and a robust business case.

And because of that, I have not yet met one organisation that will take a ‘big bang’ approach to cloud. They may be out there, but I would expect they are green or near greenfield sites. A balance must be struck commercially, technically, and operationally to ensure that a hybrid environment will be truly fit-for-purpose for your organisation.

A longer term view must also be taken to ensure a clear succession plan for technology and commercial models that will ensure your organisation does not “paint itself into a corner” either with existing solutions or with cloud.

Quantifying the current and projected costs to maintain the status quo is the best place to start.  It is then possible to perform a like-for-like comparison that enables a quick identification of workloads that can be moved to the cloud that will not only save money, but will also contribute to an improved IT service and in turn a better service to customers. As Microsoft Cloud Platform Gold partners, Shaping Cloud has now assisted a number of Local Authorities in making this comparison and identifying where and how cloud can benefit from both cost and transformational perspectives.

If you want to know more about how we do that, you can click below to watch the following 1-minute video on our SC:Strategy process:

The case for cloud is not wholly a technology one and is something that can bring significant transformational gain.  Local Authorities find themselves in a position where sustainable change is becoming more and more imperative. Last month the society for local government IT professionals Socitm produced a briefing paper stating that if councils wanted to avoid “delusions of transformation” they needed to change their way of thinking. With the right approach and understanding, the case for cloud can be made and made well.

If you want to learn more about the transformation process that must sit behind any move to the cloud, we are hosting an event at the Microsoft offices in London called “Transformation Beyond Digital” on September 15th. Spaces are limited but if you would like to attend you can register here.

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